Hardywood: Aldous Huxley takes on Tolkien

Hari Jagannathan June 09, 2010

“Hardywood is an imaginary world which developed in Hari Balasubramanian's head when he was a child. In time, this world, predominantly inspired by comics and books and populated by fictional characters, came to encompass all his activities and interests. These pieces are written by journalists residing in Hardywood.The Hardywood committee announced the list of candidates who shall stand for the President’s post.

However, the list, according to the committee, is really a tentative expression of its thoughts; it is likely that the list may change: additions and deletions can be made at any time. These were the precise words of a representative of the committee:
“After hours of deliberation, a tentative list has been arrived at, comprising of names of those who shall have the privilege of competing for the most prestigious post of Hardywood: that of the President. It has been kept in mind that previous elections have included candidates who, if elected, could have and have proven dangerous for Hardywood: the first President of Hardywood, Angel, was a good example such an arbitrary act. In our endeavour to ensure that a person unpalatable to the ethos of Hardywood does not take the throne, we have selected a concise list of authors, whose literary acknowledgements are beyond question. These are big names in Hardywood; their stories and novels are respected by one and all. By no means shall the nature or content of their work affect their candidature; it is suffice if the work is appreciated in Hardywood.”

First and foremost on the list is the most intellectual author currently: Aldous Huxley.

Though his novel “Brave New World” was not a smashing hit in Hardywood it was accepted as a masterpiece, unsurpassed in its vision. It is believed by many that he is the most popular candidate. As one Hardywood person noted: “ If Hardywood were to travel leagues ahead and touch the stars, it requires the reign of some luminary like Huxley; he is perfectly suited for the post: not only shall he consolidate on Wilde’s work, he shall propel Hardywood forth with an intensity that no number of barriers caused by External Affairs can suppress; the pinnacle shall be closer.”

Second on the list is the master of short stories, Somerset Maugham.

Having delivered the most intensive and engrossing stories on human nature, Somerset Maugham now has a chance of influencing the course of Hardywood. He does not have any success in the top ten: this is not due to any failure on his part to deliver, it happens that apart from the one decently successful novel “The narrow corner”, he has not screened any more. His short stories are massive hits in Hardywood, and for this talent he was awarded the “Best Author of Hardywood” this year.

Third on the list is George Orwell.

He is the only author with two novels under consideration for the Top Five novels of Hardywood: "1984" and "Animal Farm", both powerful in their cynical and angst-ridden themes. It is wondered by many how such a cynical person can function at the helm of Hardywood, which appreciates tragedy in art but does not vouch anything else but a raging optimism and a belief in hope. The answer is in an agreement decided by the Hardywood committee: “Art can be expressed in any form as long as it is entertaining; the author’s persona shall in no way be associated with his art. A novel is merely a stage to perform. Oscar Wilde was never considered the most apt for Hardywood’s psyche, but did he not change? Was he not considerate and liberal?”

The fourth person on the list is the most sensational author at present in Hardywood: JRR Tolkien.

Tolkien stormed into Hardywood with “The Hobbit” and his second novel - “The lord of the rings” - has the privilege of being the number one novel even before its completion. No amount of praise shall be enough for this novel. Banners with the magnificent verses of the great trilogy are being waved all around Hardywood. The verse “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them” reverberates in every street. Some characters like Gollum, Sauron and Lady Galadriel have become immensely popular. The rich culture and mythology have appealed to the hearts of many, prompting the thirst for “Silmarillion”, which might be Tolkien’s next screening.

Fifth on the list is Hardywood’s most successful author: Agatha Christie.

Her whodunits have always been successful, and in each of her novels, she has stumped Hardywood with dramatic murder plots in different locales. Prominent amongst her successes are “The murder of Roger Ackroyd”, “Death comes as the end” and “And then there were none”. If the list of her successes were to be written out, they would total to an incredible forty. No author in Hardywood has had such a consistent run. Her novel “Five little pigs” was the first in a paradigm shift in the type of novels screened in Hardywood; earlier novels had either been by Franklin W Dixon and Enid Blyton, mostly fiction for children. Agatha Christie’s fame lives on till today: her novels together with PG Wodehouse’s novels have the distinction of being called the “Staple Diet” of Hardywood.

Sixth on the list is Hardywood’s humour representative: Jerome K Jerome.

He is often called a “one-book wonder” for his only successful novel “Three men in a boat”. About two years ago, the novel was featured thrice, and it was unanimously agreed upon that never has Hardywood been entertained so much. Scenes of people rolling with uncontrollable laughter - mirth of such magnitude - have never been witnessed before. It retained the number one slot for two years before being replaced by the “The lord of the rings”. Its current position is shrouded in doubt, as angst-ridden novels that stay in memories of people longer are vying for higher positions.

Hari Jagannathan Balasubramanian is assistant professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst. He blogs at Thirty letters in my name.

Hari Jagannathan Hari Jagannathan Balasubramanian is assistant professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst. He blogs at Thirty letters in my name.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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